GA 400 Breakdown Lane Could Become Travel Lane

Hi, Y’all!

Hope your new year has gotten off to a good start and that all is well with you and yours.

Here are GRG HQ, I haven’t been blogging as much as I had been over the last 6 years, and since it’s been at least a month since I’ve written a blog, I figured it was time to get off my butt and do so.

In most recent Georgia road news, Governor Nathan Deal is proposing that a section of breakdown lane on US 19/GA 400 from the North Springs MARTA Station (Exit 5C) to Holcomb Bridge Road/GA 140 (Exit 7) be converted to a regular travel lane during rush hour.

Right now, the breakdown lane in question already serves as an auxiliary bus travel lane for MARTA and GRTA Xpress buses to use when traffic is going slower than 35 MPH (60 km/h). Otherwise, it is designed strictly for vehicles that need to get off the road due to accidents or breakdowns and for emergency vehicles to use when they are rushing to a scene.

On the surface, it seems like a good idea (and it least it doesn’t involve tolls), but what about emergency vehicles that need to get to a scene (e.g. traffic accident)? If traffic on 400 is slammed (and boy, it can get slammed), then response times could seriously be affected. Depending on the extent of injuries, mere seconds could be the difference between life and death. Furthermore, how are you going to route traffic around accidents that cannot move off the road? The variable message signs can warn drivers at certain points to avoid the congested section in question, but for those who have unfortunately been caught up the mess by no fault of their own, it could be a potential logistical nightmare.

GDOT estimates the cost of converting the total of 11.5 miles (18.4 km) of existing lanes in question at US$1,000,000, versus US$3,000,000/mile (US$1,875,000/km). Frankly, I would prefer that the lanes be converted with new breakdown lanes added. Granted it would cost much more to add new lanes, but as a taxpayer, I would much rather see my tax dollars spent on doing the job properly.

As an additional alternative, perhaps GDOT could consider building at least a couple of shorter stretches of emergency lane to the right of the lanes for the purposes of mitigating any bottleneck potential. Said lanes could be built using asphalt instead of concrete to save some money. Just a thought.

What are your thoughts on this idea? Please feel free to post them in the comments section.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading, please visit (and “like”) the GRG Facebook page, and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

SOURCE: “Governor’s GA 400 Plan Sparks Alarm“, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 14, 2012.

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